Venus Williams is out of the U.S. Open, but it has nothing to do with her play.
Before she even hit the court for her second-round match Wednesday, Williams dropped out, saying she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjorgen’s Syndrome, that causes fatigue and joint pain.
The two-time U.S. Open champion said in a statement released through the U.S. Open:
“I’m really disappointed to have to withdraw from this year’s US Open. I have been recently diagnosed with Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune disease which is an ongoing medical condition that affects my energy level and causes fatigue and joint pain.”
She continued: “I enjoyed playing my first match here and wish I could continue but right now I am unable to. I am thankful I finally have a diagnosis and am now focused on getting better and returning to the court soon.”
The tennis star hasn’t had much luck in the health department during the 2011 season.
She suffered a hip and abdominal injury and fought off a virus this summer. She played in her first match in two months on Monday.
Williams, 31, won back-to-back U.S. Open titles from 2000 to 2001, and has won seven Grand Slam titles overall.
About 4 million Americans live with the disease, according to Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation website. Nine out of 10 patients are women.
According to the website, Sjogren’s Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease in which people’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands.
Some symptoms include:
A dry, gritty or burning sensation in the eyes
Difficulty talking, chewing or swallowing
A sore or cracked tongue
Dry or burning throat